Why Sailing More Than One Boat Will Take You To The Next Level

The best sailors in the word sail different boats in a year. So, why don't we apply this to every sailing program?

Why Sailing More Than One Boat Will Take You To The Next Level
Photo by Raimond Klavins / Unsplash

Last week, I was taking a class on Sport Psychology. The theme of the day was the change in paradigms during the last few years regarding the mental health of athletes

"No pain, no gain" and "Train harder" are motivating phrases that we are used to hearing. This made me realize that in the majority of racing programs, sailors only sail one boat. For example, if you are on a 420 race program, you will probably just sail 420's.

I know this is no revelation at all. The thing here is that if we only practice on the boat that we are going to race, we are probably going to master it, but, as much as we train as hard as we can, there are going to be lots of skills that we are going to miss or underdevelop.

I was lucky to have an optimist coach who always fed my curiosity about other boats. When I was 15, I was sailing Optis and 29er. This boosted my motivation and made me a better skipper in a very short period of time.

By that time, I had already participated in two South American, one North American, and one Worlds in Opti and only had a couple of months and local championships left to participate. There is always something new to learn on every boat, but learning how to sail a 29er was a real challenge for me.

What was the result after eight sailing sessions in 29er? My motivation boosted, and I learned a lot!

Everything I learned on the 29er I applied to optimist races. I have neither fear nor shame to admit that it was one of the moments of my life that I learned the most, and in a very efficient way.

white sailboat on sea during daytime
Photo by Renan Brun / Unsplash

Why is sailing more than one class going to make you a better sailor?

By sailing different sailboats, you are going to improve tactics, starting, stability, trimming, sensibility/feeling the boat, and psychology, because you are going to get out of your comfort zone and get a bit frustrated, and that's okay! That is the way that we learn how to deal with it!

You are going to meet a lot of people and learn a lot from them. And what's more important, if you are sailing at a competitive level, this is going to prevent you from burning out.

Training is important, yes, and we should have a boat to which we dedicate more time. But having fun while we are learning and focusing on developing different skills is what is going to make us way better at anything we do.

The best sailors in the world sail different boats in a year. If they do so, we should do it too.

And if you are a coach, you should try to let your students sail other boats every now and then. Watch with them the Americas Cup, the Olympics, or the Ocean Race. Feed their curiosity about this huge and amazing sailing world. Trust me when I say that if you do so, they will never forget you.

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